Scientists said this week world fisheries risk collapsing completely by 2048 if humans continue to erode species diversity by causing regional extinctions:
The rate at which ocean fisheries collapse, or fall below 10 percent of the maximum recorded annual catch, has accelerated over time, the scientists led by Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University said today in a study in the journal Science. By 2003, 29 percent of species were below that threshold, they said.
``If the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime -- by 2048,'' Worm said in an accompanying statement. ``It is a very clear trend, and it is accelerating.''
The scientists found that the risk of a species dying out increases when it shares an ecosystem with fewer other creatures. As a result, species declines accelerate as marine environments become less diverse. The loss of wildlife also affects the quality of the water, which becomes more polluted, they said.